carl sagan + more: my pangea day top five.

If you’ve been checking out my blog for a while, then you know that I’d been waiting for Pangea Day since I first posted about it back in January. As various promo campaigns rolled out for the worldwide live film event, I got even more excited.

Last Saturday the day finally came. I watched all four hours of Pangea Day on the edge of my chair – that feeling of connection in the moment was palpable for me. I sensed that I was part of something special and greater than myself. I knew that millions of people around my planet were watching the exact same thing as I, at the exact same moment as I. The power of it all was more subtle than I expected. Instead of a big emotional wave, it was like a light bulb flicking on. I felt not just like I’d become more aware, but a need within to not let that awareness fade, as it so often does. It’s easy to say you’ll do or think this and that in the middle of a big event, but it’s keeping it going during your every day life that’s the real goal.

I strongly urge everyone to go to Pangea Day and watch as much of the entire broadcast as you can. (It starts off with an intro from Bishop Desmond Tutu – this is big time shit.) But I also wanted to share my five favourite shorts from the day:

1. “Pale Blue Dot” words by Carl Sagan (Earth)

I feel a tad guilty putting this one as my #1 since it wasn’t an official submission, but the genius of Carl Sagan simply can’t be ignored. His words, famously recorded by Carl himself in 1990 after he NASA used the Voyager 1 spacecraft to take a picture of Earth from more than 4 billion miles away. Written for the public unveiling of the photograph, his words are succinct and endlessly powerful. The heart of a poet, the mind of a scientist…

2. “J’Attendrai Le Suivant (I’ll Wait For The Next One)” by Phillipe Orreindy (France)

My jaw literally dropped at the end of this one. I felt everything all at once. Seriously, every emotion ever. I don’t want to be any more specific because then I’ll give something away.

3. “¿Por Qué Le Hago? (Who I Do It)” by Pablo Olmos Arrayales (Spain)

This made me cry. You’ll see why…

4. “The Americana Project: Cuba” by Topaz Adizes (USA)

The explosive authenticity of this short was so real that I honestly can’t figure out if it’s scripted or reality, or maybe it’s a mixture of both. Pure, visceral emotion that could only be born out of generations of family and cultural struggle.

5. “More” by Mark Osbourne (USA)

Amazing animation and a beautiful story, this didn’t at all turn out the way I originally thought it was going to.

pangea day: “anthems”.

A couple days ago I posted “Japan Sings Turkey”, the first in Pangea Day’s new “Anthems” campaign. Each spot is an exploration of one culture’s national anthem interpreted into a short film by another country. My favourite, not so much for content but more just for the whole politically-polarized idea behind it, is “France sings USA”. I imagine the thought of a French choir singing the good ol’ “Stars and Stripes” would probably make a few Americans choke on their “freedom fries”, but the sincerity here is undeniable:

(Agency: Johannes Leonardo. Director: Laurent Briet)

Next up is “Kenya Sings India”:

(Director: Bob Nyanja)

Finally we’ve got “Australia Sings Lebanon”. This mostly makes me think Australians aren’t particularly good at humming:

(Director: Kris Moyes)

peter menzel + faith d’alulsio: hungry planet.

Sometimes all it takes is a little perspective. In an increasingly globalized world, it’s still sometimes shocking to see just how disparate our lives are with other human beings around the world. For their book “Hungry Planet: What the World Eats” photographer Peter Menzel and author Faith D’Alulsio embarked on a journey to 24 countries in every continent around the world. Spending a week each with 30 different families, they not only took part in their daily lives but documented how much they ate and what they spent on food in one week.

The results speak plainly for themselves. Not just a matter of poverty versus wealth, but of the obvious quality and health value of what other cultures are eating, usually for less money. Here’s just a sampling of the families, but you can check them all out at the Hungry Planet Flickr set.  Thanks to MK @ SocietalSickeness for sending me this.

Germany – US $500.07



United States – US $341.98



Italy – US $260.11


Egypt – US $68.53


Mongolia – $40.02


Breijding (Sudanese refugee camp in Chad) – US $1.23 


pangea day.

In 2007 Arab-American documentary filmmaker Jehane Noujaim was awarded a TED Idea Prize for her wish to “bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.”


The realization of her dream will happen on May 10, 2008 as Pangea Day takes over the world. Professional and amateur filmmakers are needed to send in their own short films –  the only criteria being that they provoke thought, inspire others, and share pieces of their experiences with people who will never meet them. Official live viewings will be hosted in Brazil, Egypt, India, the UK, Israel, the Palestinian Territory, Rwanda and the US; a four-hour live video-conference will show a stretch of films, speakers and music to unify people through the power of common emotion. If you’re not in the host cities, then the program will also be broadcast live on TV, online, and on mobile devices or you can take part in hundreds of public viewings being organized in cities everywhere. Even better, you can get involved yourself and host a viewing of your own.

The hope is that millions of people around the world will gather outdoors, at theatres, and with their families to connect with the entire globe. The site explains it perfectly: “Movies alone can’t change the world. But the people who watch them can”. The February 15th deadline to submit your film is almost here. Get inspired by the trailer and take part:


This article also appeared on Josh Spear

In 2006 the planet crossed a tipping point – more than half the world’s population now live in cities.


Focusing on 19 cities with populations greater than 20 million people at the turn of the 21st century, 19.20.21. is a 5 year initiative to study the global effects of urbanization. The project plans to use the data collected to become an indispensable tool for urban and business planning.

Since most of the world’s biggest cities lie on a coastline, the study is paying particular attention to issues related to the global warming, ocean resources, and energy distribution while also studying factors like crime dynamic and calamity risk. Once gathered, the site aims to distribute its findings in traditional channels like print and TV as well as online and in a series of seminars to be held in each of the 19 cities that were studied.

jun tsuzuki: synchronicity.

As the world gets flatter, it’s not shocking how many new ways we find to reach out to strangers around the world. This time the surprise is that we’re not doing it with messages of the once-in-a-lifetime, but of the everyday.


In 2005 Jun Tsuzuki began Synchronicity – an online snapshot of what folks around the world are doing at the exact same instant. The project gives a pre-determined time and at that exact moment you take a pic of whatever you’re honestly doing: sitting, driving, eating Cheerios…It’s the addictive banality of Twitter mixed with the permanency of a photograph. Except that the goal isn’t to capture an epic moment, but a collaborative moment – the recognition and proof that all of us, everywhere, must be doing something all the time. Normally something boring.While you’re watching Heroes some dude in Copenhagen is eating a sandwich – oh wow! Still, it’s that very commonality that’s so interesting. Despite how mundane these shared moments may seem the result of comparing this one-second of our global daily life is totally fascinating.

Synchronicity is an on-going project open to everyone with a clock and a camera. Even if you’ve got nothing better to do than floss and walk the dog, the world wants to see. Unless you want to masturbate – in which case Xtube wants to see.

Via Cool Hunting